2024 Davida Teller Award – Isabel Gauthier

Monday, May 20, 2024, 12:30 – 2:00 pm, Talk Room 2

The Vision Sciences Society is honored to present Isabel Gauthier with the 2024 Davida Teller Award

Congratulations to Isabel Gauthier, the twelfth recipient of the Davida Teller Award. The Teller Award was created to honor the late Davida Teller’s exceptional scientific achievements, commitment to equity, and strong history of mentoring. The award is given to a female vision scientist in recognition of her exceptional, significant, or lasting contributions to the field of vision science.

Dr. Isabel Gauthier

Isabel Gauthier

David K. Wilson Professor of Psychology at Vanderbilt University

Dr. Isabel Gauthier is the David K. Wilson Professor of Psychology at Vanderbilt University and also holds an appointment in Radiology and Radiological Sciences. Following a B. A. in Psychology at the Université du Québec a Montréal in 1993, she obtained a PhD from Yale University Department of Psychology in 1998 under the mentorship of Dr Michael Tarr. She completed two concurrent postdocs, at MIT with Dr Nancy Kanwisher and at Yale with Dr John C. Gore.

Dr. Gauthier is a leader in the study of object recognition from a cognitive neuroscience perspective. Her expert and distinctive blend of behavioural and functional magnetic resonance imaging studies have revealed the mechanisms subserving complex pattern recognition, demonstrating on these the effects of experience, specificity, and individual differences. In one of her early, highly influential studies, Dr Gauthier showed that naïve observers trained to recognize a new set of 3D rendered objects (‘Greebles’), evinced holistic processing and activation for Greebles in the Fusiform Face Area. This revolutionary demonstration went against the grain of many studies of face perception and its neural correlates, and the theoretical argument in favour of expertise was further revealed in studies of car and bird experts. In the early 2010s, Dr Gauthier’s interests in expertise expanded to the study of individual differences in object recognition. She used latent variable models to provide evidence for a domain-general visual ability that is independent of general cognitive abilities. This line of work has extended to individual differences in object recognition in the haptic and auditory modalities, and to general abilities in ensemble perception.

Dr. Gauthier’s research contributions have been widely recognized. She has received the Young Investigator Award, Cognitive Neuroscience Society; the APA Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution to Psychology; and the Troland research award from the National Academy of Sciences. She is a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science, the Society of Experimental Psychologists, and the Psychonomic Society and is a member of AAAS.  Dr. Gauthier has demonstrated exemplary commitment to her academic institution, serving as Vice Chair, Department of Psychology. Dr Gauthier has been widely recognized as a supportive and influential mentor to many graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and undergraduate students. At Vanderbilt, she was awarded the Graduate mentoring award from the College of Arts and Science in 2012 and the Excellence in Graduate student mentoring award from the Graduate School in 2024. She was recognized as the SEC Professor of the year in 2015. Dr Gauthier has also made significant contributions to the broader vision sciences community. In 2000, she founded the Perceptual Expertise Network, linking over ten laboratories across North America in collaborations until 2017. Dr Gauthier was an Associate Editor at JEP:HPP from 2005 to 2011, Editor of JEP:General from 2011 to 2017 and Editor of JEP:HPP since 2017. She has proudly mentored many editors and associate editors who now serve in many other journals.

Individual differences in domain-general object recognition

Dr. Gauthier will speak during the Awards session.